The NFL draft is over, and now it is time for the Cleveland Browns rookies to go out and prove to the organization that they made the right decision. The Browns had nine picks in this year’s draft. This year was full of playmakers on the defense side of the ball and the wide receiver department. It did not come as a shock to any that many teams traded to drop down as this year was not a strong quarterback draft class.
The Browns made their first selection in the third round with the 68th overall pick and selected cornerback Martin Emerson from Mississippi State, who had 50 tackles and three pass breakups last season. Some say that selecting Emerson in the third round was a steal, as some experts graded him as a first-round pick. Emerson is 6 foot 2 and weighs 200 pounds, he is not explosive with speed but can his length and athleticism make up for it. It is always a good idea to add depth to a position that has one of the best corners in the league in Denzel Ward.
The Browns continued to address their defense as they grabbed the defensive end, Alex Wright, from UAB. Wright was named to second-team all-conference honors. Unfortunately, Wright was hampered by an injury during the combine and was unable to showcase his skills. Wright finished his season last season with seven sacks, seven and a half tackles, and forced two fumbles.
In March, the Browns decided to release wide receiver Jarvis Landry. The Browns selected wide receiver David Bell out of Purdue with the 99th overall pick. Bell won multiple accolades in his final season at Purdue, as he was named First-team all associated press All-American and was the Big Ten Conference receiver of the year. Bell has big shoes to fill, as he is Jarvis Landry’s replacement.
The Browns went back to fixing their defense as they drafted defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey out of Oklahoma. Winfrey was named to the second-team All-Big 12 conference team as he finished his season with five and a half sacks, 23 tackles, and 11 tackles for a loss. Winfrey has plenty of size and skill and should wreak havoc on his opponents. I can already imagine how dominating Winfrey and Garrett will be on defense.
The Browns decided to draft a kicker with the 124th pick and selected LSU Cade York. He is a winner as he won a national championship back in 2019. York set a school record as he drilled a 57-yard field goal to beat Florida. York had a field goal percentage of 83% and made all 39 extra points. This man should win the kicking job this fall. If York does not, I will be shocked.
The Browns added Cincinnati’s running back Jerome Ford as they received the pick from the Ravens. Ford signed with Alabama coming out of high school and could not climb past Damien Harris, Najee Harris, or Josh Jacobs in the depth charts and decided to leave for Cincinnati. The move paid off as in 2021, Ford ranked seventh in the FBS with 19 rushing touchdowns. Ford also was effective in the passing game as he caught 21 passes for 220 yards.
The Browns and Cowboys made a trade in the 6th round, which allowed the Browns to land Oklahoma wide receiver Mike Woods with the 202nd overall pick. Woods did not score many touchdowns in his college career. Woods was targeted many times, which means he finds a way to get open. Mike Woods is listed at 6 foot 1 198 pounds and has dealt with injuries. Hopefully, he can put on more muscle which could help keep him on the field.
The Browns made a trade with the Lions which netted the Browns edge rusher Isaiah Thomas from Oklahoma. Thomas forced three fumbles last season along with eight sacks. Thomas was named second-team all-conference two years in a row which tells the Browns he is consistent. Working alongside Myles Garrett will make any player better. Thomas must be so thrilled to play with one of the best players in the league.
The final selection that the Browns made was Dawson Deaton a center from Texas Tech. Deaton played 21 games between 2020 and 2021. Deaton has some versatility as he can play at left tackle and left guard. Deaton accumulated 71% in run blocking which needs to improve if he wants to last in this league. Overall it seems on paper that Andrew Berry improved this team. However, it matters what happens on the gridiron. Browns football season can’t come soon enough.